When it comes to wattage on a microwave, more is better.
A high wattage means a powerful microwave that can cook fast. A low wattage means you’re waiting around for your food to be cooked.
The range for wattages of microwaves is between 600W and 1200W on average. Boxed and packaged foods give you a reheat time based on 700W-900W microwaves which are the most common.
Is there any disadvantage to a high power / high wattage microwave? Not really. Modern microwaves have multiple power levels to adjust the heat when necessary.
If you’re looking for the best wattage microwave that can cook things in an instant, then I recommend you check out this model from Panasonic.
This microwave is top of the line, offering a beefy 1250W and lightning fast cooking times that make it one of the most useful and reliable microwave ovens on the market.
The Panasonic comes with awesome features like its patented “Inverter Technology” (click the link for specifics) as well as being just about the highest wattage for a (home use) microwave on the market at the moment.
How does wattage on a microwave work?
A watt is a measure of power. It tells us how much energy can be transferred to your food per second. A microwave of 1000W can transfer 1000 Joules of energy per second.
The wattage of microwaves works in a linear fashion. So a microwave of 1000W will transfer heat and cook twice as fast as a microwave of 500W. This makes it easy to do a quick calculation of how long different microwaves take to cook.
A boxed meal that says put in on high power at 900W for 3 minutes but you want to use a 1200W microwave? Simply do the following calculation.
So you pop it in for four minutes. No problem.
Are high wattage microwaves always good?
If a high wattage on your microwave is always better, why wouldn’t you always get the most powerful model possible?
Well, it’s a lot like buying a new car. Everyone wants a Porsche with its powerful engine, smooth handling and bucketloads of snazzy extras, but not everyone can afford it.
The best microwaves are high wattage and come with loads of useful features, but it might be more practical to get something a little more affordable.
One misconception is that powerful microwaves can cook too fast and leave you with burnt edges and cold spots in your food. This is incorrect.
Microwave ovens cook and reheat in a unique way. You can think of them as cooking from the inside out. The radio waves that your microwave oven emits is absorbed inside the food rather from the outside in. A higher wattage doesn’t burn the edges at all.
Now, it’s true that burnt edges and cold spots are an issue with microwave cooking in general. The best two tricks to avoid these issues are as follows.
- Stir your food (if possible). All food that can be stirred should be stirred multiple times during cooking. This allows the heat to be spread out through the food rather than concentrated on the high energy places where the microwaves build up.
- Leave to stand once heated. The biggest reason for cool spots is not giving food time to stand once cooked. Your food should be microwaved until it’s piping hot then left for 2-3 minutes for the heat to spread out through the food.
Follow these rules and it makes no difference what wattage your microwave is.